As first reported by Shams Charania, it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are nearing a deal that would land Kyrie Irving in Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and draft picks.
Irving has of course been the subject of trade speculation since it became public that he asked out of Cleveland. The Timberwolves were seen as a possible and promising destination, but would have required the Wolves to give up Andrew Wiggins in exchange, something they were apparently unwilling to do.
A trade of this magnitude between two top conference competitors is unusual, but the proposed deal makes sense for both sides. Depending on the final deal, the Cavs get a nice haul for an unhappy Irving—Thomas, under contract for only this season, replaces the scoring, and in fact is a similar, though smaller and older player. A scoring point guard without top-notch play making skills. With LeBron James orchestrating things, however, he fits in nicely. Jae Crowder is a terrific role player who can guard and make threes, and gives the Cavs added wing depth.
It also gives the Cavs more flexibility next summer, with IT a free agent, as they try to retain LeBron, and/or prepare for a post-James team. Crowder has value, they can use Bird rights to try to re-sign Thomas if they think they need a scoring star, and whatever picks are involved give them further ammunition.
For the Celtics, it gives them a cost-controlled scoring star for the next two seasons, and relieves them of the burden of trying to figure out what to do with Thomas after this season. Irving is probably the better bet going forward, though they are paying a price. Losing Crowder will hurt, but having drafted promising forwards in the last two drafts (Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum,) and having signed Gordon Hayward in free agency, they have the depth to survive it.
Presuming the picks are not the cream of their collection, they are still not hurting for future assets, and have a chance to see how things play out this season.
It makes them younger and adds a huge talent to their roster as they continue to build while winning. It also means they will have sent out two guys this summer who will require large deals in summer 2018—Avery Bradley and Thomas—which eases their potential cap woes going forward.
What do you think?